Short cuts

Published: 08/01/2004, Volume II4, No. 5886 Page 8

The Department of Health has issued guidance on clinical exceptions to the national accident and emergency targets. In September health secretary John Reid promised to look again at targets requiring the NHS to deal with 100 per cent of patients within four hours, which were due to come into force in April. Following consultation, guidance says the service should achieve performance of at least 98 per cent against the four-hour target by the later date of January 2005.This figure is expected to allow for clinical exceptions, including patients whose condition would be jeopardised by transfer to another area;

patients who unexpectedly deteriorate and need the continued care of emergency department specialists; and patients who are expected to die imminently.

www. doh. gov. uk